1976

John Wood

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Usually I wouldn’t be inclined to declare who my childhood heroes were, but in this case I’ll make an exception.  Found this photo on the web today and it brought back memories of striving to improve as a competitive paddler.  John Wood (pictured above) raced to an exhilarating silver medal in the Men’s C1 (canoeing) at the Montreal Olympics.  

Not only was he racing in the days when competitors from the Soviet bloc were systematically doping, he also lost the 1976 Olympic 500m race by about 5cm.  This was a Games where Canada notoriously won multiple silvers and bronzes, but failed to win a single gold.  

Wood’s race on a level playing field would have been a gold medal result.  It remains one of the heartbreaks of the Canadian Olympic movement.  The greatest canoeist of his generation.